Kids appear to be among the most vulnerable members of society. As we know, the law of the state protects kids until they’re deemed to be capable of interacting in society as adults. Exactly for this reason, kids are treated differently from adults by the criminal justice system. The law, dealing with kids found in breach of the criminal law is contained in the Children Act, 2001 amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2006 as well as other acts.
In July 2001, the Children Act 2001 Act officially became and since then the vast majority of provisions of the 2001 Act as well as the amendments have been brought into force. As for the 2001 legislation, it’s built around the philosophy that kids in conflict with the law need to detained by the state as a last resort. There’re a lot of community based measures, that need to be explored and also exhausted before detention can be considered.
There were three Departments of the Government having the responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the Children Act, 2001.
In December 2005, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs was set up for the purpose of bringing greater coherence to policy-making for kids. As it happened to be part of the Department of Health, it also came with units from the two other departments, including the Irish Youth Justice Service.
During the same period the Irish Youth Justice Service arose, within the Department of Justice and Equality. The Service combined together all of the State's youth justice services in one solid entity. It ensured strategic direction to the development of services and promoted must-have reforms.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs was established in June 2011, taking over the functions of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Some units from other departments also turned to be part of the new Department, including the Irish Youth Justice Service.
Until the advent of the Children Act 2001, many expressions were employed to identify somebody within the scope of the juvenile justice system. Such expressions as juvenile, minor, youth offender as well as young person were commonplace. However, the word child is currently defined by Section 3 of the 2001 Act to mean a person younger 18 years.
The Children Act 2001 doesn’t distinguish between a young person and a child. Any provisions in earlier Acts distinguishing different classes of kids don’t exist any longer.
Kids appear to be among the most vulnerable members of society. As we know, the law of the state protects kids until they’re deemed to be capable of interacting in society as adults. Exactly for this reason, kids are treated differently from adults by the criminal justice system.